Rain all day, autumn leaves falling and collecting in colorful wet collages in roadside gullies. I went out for a walk in my "city" off-white raincoat and smart tan umbrella. Assumed my usual pace, brisk as a commuter headed for a train, only I wasn't, just striding down a hill, along the creek, up another hill where I know coyotes somewhere in the rocks and ravines reside, and back up the pine-needled path behind the church hoping very much there isn't anyone stalkerish who observes me on my walks and who might greet me specterlike, silhouetted at the top of the rise, at the far edge of the cemetery, dressed all in black perhaps, features obscured - or perhaps leering, there to trap me. People do get murdered, in circumstances just such as this - and yet it must always come as a surprise. Or perhaps I've seen too many movies - no, not even that - these thoughts are deeply embedded in our culture. It's just that it's very isolated where I am, despite its being a residential hamlet, a scattering of houses, but there's hardly anyone around, just people - mostly men, presumably - driving around, too fast often, in tinted-windowed oversize pickup trucks, while commuter gal heads for the train station with her chic umbrella and coat and mudsplashed Merrills. When I got home I had to take off my pants whose hems had become soaked, moisture wicking up the legs. But otherwise, as dripping wet as my coat and umbrella were (I propped open the umbrella on the tile floor of the solarium to dry; it can't be bad luck - can it? - an open umbrella indoors under these circumstances - surely it must be the exception to the rule), I was perfectly dry, my hair drier even than when, pulled back, I splash water on my face at the sink in the morning.
You know, sometimes people disappoint - ones who supposedly loved - gratuitously cruel. But other times others - as if the universe is balancing itself out - complete strangers extend themselves, connect - unexpectedly, in loving ways - gratuitously kind. I'm not used to it. So not used to it that my first impulse is to trust it less than the unwarmth I am used to. But it is real, and I have been part of it - both giving and receiving - and I'm very grateful.